Mumbai cops raid hotels: Locals welcome police action

  • Farhan Shaikh, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 10, 2015 23:23 IST
Recently, when couples were arrested from hotels at Aksa Beach and Madh Island in Mumbai and insulted, harassed, fined and detained for five hours because someone thought wanting some privacy in this setting amounted to public indecency, there was a huge public uproar. (Shutterstock Photo)

While the Malwani police’s recent raid on hotels near the Dana Pani beach has attracted allegations of moral policing, many residents of the area have welcomed the action.

A woman selling vegetables near the Dana Pani beach said drunkards and commercial sex workers, who have been a constant harassment for her and others in the residential areas around the beach, have vanished after the raid.

The 49-year-old woman said she, and many others who live in the neighbourhood, have complained to the Malwani police regularly about drunkards and sex workers creating trouble in the area.

“It had become difficult for me and other young girls to walk around in our own neighbourhood. The sex workers would be out on the roads as early as 8am, soliciting customers. People would be reluctant to visit my shop because of these women standing around,” she said.

Read: Mumbai cops round up couples from hotels, social media lashes out

An autorickshaw driver Salim, who ferries passengers in the area, said sex workers have changed their ways following protests by locals.

“Instead of standing on roads, they now travel in autorickshaws and ask drivers to slow down when they spot a man alone. This has helped them hide from the angry locals,” said Salim.

Local residents say the Dana Pani beach has become divided into three ‘zones’ – for couples, families and drunkards. “Each party ensures they stay in their zone,” a paan vendor said. Women residents, however, said they often feel uncomfortable when groups of drunkards stop by at the shops.

Analysis: For Mumbai cops, is indecency limited to privacy of a hotel room?

There is a hotel or a guest house every five minutes between Aksa and Dana Pani beach. Police officers say the number is around 20. The autorickshaw drivers say most of their passengers are people going to these establishments from the beach.

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